Comments about ‘Picturing history: Calm as a Summer's Morning statue’

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Published: Wednesday, March 12 2014 5:00 a.m. MDT

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If you don't break the law, you don't have to go to jail.

1.96 Standard Deviations


I have a hunch you are trying to imply something. Can you clarify so there is no misunderstanding?

Do you also believe that no one in history, has ever been falsely accused or falsely/mistakenly sentenced to jail?


I apologize for my vague comment. However in this forum one must be somewhat circumspect in choosing what to say if you ever want to see your comment in print. And vague comments sometimes appear to be more harsh than what was intended.

Destroying other peoples' property is illegal and answerable in court (now and then). Although Joseph was unfairly maligned and persecuted for much of his life, this particular arrest was probably justified. Dallin Oaks has written on the subject and concluded that "destruction of the printing press itself was probably outside of the council's legal authority".

Northern Lights
Arco, ID


I believe Dallin Oaks will disagree with you as to whether the arrest was justified. He wrote the article you cited in the Winter 1965 edition of the Utah Law Review. In it, he does state that the Nauvoo City Council could have been found financially liable for the destruction of the press. He then concludes with the following:

"Nevertheless, the common assumption of historians that the action taken by the city council to suppress the paper as a nuisance was entirely illegal is not well founded. Aside from damages for unnecessary destruction of the press, for which the Nauvoo authorities were unquestionably liable, the remaining actions of the council, including its interpretation of the constitutional guarantee of a free press, can be supported by reference to the law of their day." (pg 903)

Yet, for this very action, Joseph and Hyrum were arrested, charged with riot and treason, jailed, and then murdered by a mob while in jail awaiting trial. Which was the grosser crime?

Midwest City, USA, OK

Given the life and property taken from Joseph Smith and his family(nevermind the body of the saints) for much of the Church's history to that point, with previous false arrests and mistreatment, I would give him a pass if this act-one levied against spreading more unfounded hatefulness against them-were illegal.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Irrespective of how we view the destruction of the press. The penalty for its destruction would not have been the death of two men who had not yet even gone to trial.


Twin and Northern Lights

Who here has condoned the mob action or implied that the Smiths got what was coming to them? The killing was a horrendous crime for which some of the perpetrators were tried and found "not-guilty" by their non Mormon peers in an obvious miscarriage of justice.

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